Elm City locals bemoan excess campus noise

At a meeting of the Downtown-Wooster Square Community Management Team on Thursday evening, Ward 7 Alderwoman Frances “Bitsie” Clark had little sympathy for city residents who showed up to complain to the committee about drunken, rowdy Yale students.

“As annoyed as you are about these kids,” Clark told the assembled residents, “remember you were once that age, and did the same damn thing.”

A New Haven Police Department officer discusses the department’s new stance on public disturbance at a Thursday meeting.
Murphy Temple
A New Haven Police Department officer discusses the department’s new stance on public disturbance at a Thursday meeting.

The antics of the post-Toad’s crowd were among the principal topics that the committee and concerned citizens discussed at the meeting last night, held at the Omni Hotel. Also on the bill: The noise emanating from a host of Yale construction sites — sometimes until 12:30 a.m., according to one attendee.

Richard Wurtzel, a New Haven resident who lives in an apartment at 100 York St., said he is often bothered by noise coming from the street below on weekend nights.

The New Haven Police Department, which often uses sirens and yells at people over public-address systems, also contributes to the racket, he said.

“Around 2 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. every Thursday to Saturday, I hear boisterous swearing and arguments outside, often ensued by bullhorns from police cars … It’s getting ridiculous,” Wurtzel said. “But every time I bring it up at a meeting, the response is that police need to be using their emergency vehicles.

NHPD Lt. Martin Tchakirides, a member of the panel, acknowledged the residents’ complaints but responded that there is only so much he can do to contain noise with the department’s finite resources.

“We try to keep an eye on the hot spots,” he said. “But by the end of the night when the clubs break, it’s very chaotic, and several thousand kids dumping into the night drunk are too much for my officers to handle.”

Several other attendees echoed Wurtzel’s concerns, and also pointed the finger at Yale students and the businesses that cater to them as partly to blame for the disturbance on weekends. Others cited ongoing construction on campus as a chronic source of irritation and asked whether the University could reach an agreement with area residents to reduce the noise.

Clark, who said she had heard similar complaints about construction over the summer, said she thinks the source of residents’ frustration was a lack of communication between the city and its residents.

“Often we fail at letting people know about the construction schedules, so we have tried to improve this by institutionalizing projects so that we can better communicate about them,” she said.

Clark suggested that the construction management team start making publicly available a contact sheet for each construction project that lists the project’s schedule and construction manager, as well as working with the development commission to reduce these problems.

The next Downtown-Wooster Square Community Management Team community forum will be held Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.


  • J.H.

    Wow ! boy would i hate to live Downtown.
    I suppose one can join in on the revelry and celebration of Landru. Force it to be a young or younger Downtown.Maybe it's more quiet on Dwight,and if you dial the Realtors # on the card that was just handed to you ,He/She or it can find you a more genteel locale,and once you settle into your new digs the cops will bullhorn them over to your new ….
    Hey Bitsy ! were the streets safer and quieter during prohibition ?

  • Crown St. Resident

    1) Most of the "rowdy" revelers on Crown street are not Yale students. Crown St. is a nightlife destination for the entire region, and the crowd consists of 20-somethings from all over the place, including the other 4 colleges of the New Haven area (Quinnipiac, UNH, Albertus Magnus and SCSU). Don't blame Yalies for your noise.

    2) I live on Crown Street, and while there is occasionally sporadic noise on weekend nights, it's hardly unbearable. It's actually less bothersome than the ambulances coming in and out of the 2 nearby hospitals, a "bother" that is not (nor should be) going anywhere. You bought an apartment just off of a major hub of nightlife and that is a center of nighttime activity, and you knew this when you bought it. If you couldn't handle it, you shouldn't have moved in.

    3) The construction you moan about is a necessary part of making New Haven a vibrant community. It includes repaving the roads (that you drive on to get home every day) and building a cancer hospital, for cancer patients. I'm sorry if their needs are inconveniencing your beauty sleep. This work NEEDS to happen at night so that 10,000 people a day aren't stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic at rush hour. Their needs are also more important than your beauty sleep. Hundreds of people live in University Towers and in the area without any problem at all. Sheesh, quit whining.

  • crown st. you're an idiot

    I would like to attack almost everything that Crown St. Resident said. First and foremost, I will say that this reporting is not very good. If you attended the event, you would have heard 2 minutes dedicated to Yale. Toad's was never mentioned other than to say how things could be done. Bitsie had plenty of sympathy for people, but wanted to make sure everyone was realistic with expectations and balanced the positives of lively nightlife. Yale construction sites were questioned by none of the panelists (on the other hand the hospital construction, parking authority construction, public school construction, and cancer center construction were brought up). This conversation had very little to do with Yale.

    Onto Crown St. Resident's comments.
    1) I guess I already addressed this, but I'll say it again. This Quality of Life open forum didn't have anything to do with Yale students or one campus' students. It has to do with Quality of Life issues in general.

    2) I live on crown street as well. Yes, there is a certain level of noise assumed, but the residents and officials (who are the same in some cases) all agree that it is over and above anything. In your argument, you say that "if you couldn't handle it, you shouldn't have moved in." Have you ever had a Dean's excuse? lol. But seriously, I'll say again, the level of noise and revelry is over and above what is necessary for the success of a vibrant entertainment district. New Haven is not the French Quarter. New Haven isn't Panama City 1991. More to this point when I talk about development (or what you call "construction"). But there are plenty of towns and cities that have nightlife that is vibrant, and don't have 3 stabbings and 1 shooting. For the size of population we are, this is pathetic. The forum was designed to get residents, businesses, city staff, elected officials and downtown partners engaged in a serious debate to make our downtown livable.

    3) Construction and construction noise is under the control of zoning and the building department. Residents at this open forum were complaining that construction projects were breaking the noise ordinances in the city that have been on the legislative books for years. When someone is breaking the law, you speak out. Period. No one is saying that construction isn't needed or is bad for this city. No one is 'whining', people are getting together in a positive light to hold this city to its standards that its already passed and voted on. More importantly, the city is spending vast amounts of political capital, public funds, and public land to bring new development downtown. RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS with a new High School (yes, HIGH SCHOOL where kids are under 18 and positioned at a street corner that looks like a medieval dinner-orgy with all the vomit on the ground and skin on the flyers) and Community College nearby. You are seeing already that condos and apartments are being left vacant because people cannot live in this area. The QUALITY OF LIFE is too low (not to mention the lack of grocers…).

    There will be more of these forums and more of these efforts to get the bars, patrons, police, residents, and policy makers in line with how New Haven wishes itself to be. But this person's comments are narrow-focused, and this article was not an accurate representation (probably causing these comments to be so narrow).

    There is a problem with the noise and quality of life in the downtown (especially).